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Chester County Press

Obituaries for February 22

02/22/2021 04:16PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Linda Simons Pierce

Linda Simons Pierce, 80, of Lincoln University, Pa., passed away Feb. 14 at Jenner’s Pond in West Grove.

She was the wife of the late David L. Pierce.

Born in Ashland, Pa., she was the daughter of the late Charles H. and Esther Treibley Simons.

Linda was a homemaker and animal lover. She enjoyed gardening and spending time with family. She was loved and admired by her nieces and nephews who spent time on the family farm in Lincoln University. 

She is survived by her three children, Terry P. Weaver (Bruce) of Oxford, Carol P. Plank (David) of Lincoln University and Patti P. Rosenberg (Howard) of Lincoln University; seven grandchildren, Natalie Stevenson, Cassie Kuhn, Craig Weaver, Sheila Gilles, Cris Plank, Sydni Rosenberg, and Michaela Rosenberg; seven great-grandchildren; and one brother, Paul Simons of Bowie, Md.

She was preceded in death by a brother, Charles David Simons.

Services are private.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Chester County SPCA, 1212 Phoenixville Pike

West Chester, PA 19380.

Arrangements are being handled by the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford. Online condolences may be made at

Zelda C. Abernathy

Zelda C. Abernathy passed away Feb. 13 at Twin Pines Health Care Center in West Grove. She was 92.

She was the wife of the late Earl S. Abernathy, Jr., with whom she shared 63 years of marriage.

Born in Galax, VA she was the daughter of the late William and Elizabeth G. Smith Nobblitte.

She was a member of Community of Love Church in Oxford.

She is survived by her son, Larry William Nobblitte of Elizabethtown; one granddaughter, Kimberly A. Carrick of Hockessin, Del.; and four great-grandchildren, Sean Carrick, Caitlyn Carrick, Kelsey Carrick and Kyle Carrick.

She was preceded in death by three sisters, Mary Hazel Elville, Fammie B. Rios and Virginia Carter and one brother, Elbert L. Nobblitte.

The services are private. Interment will be in Oxford Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to American Heart Assoc., PO Box 15120, Chicago, Il 60693.

Arrangements are being handled by the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford. Online condolences may be made at

Mabel Ann Gill

Mabel Ann Gill, a resident of College Park, Md., passed away peacefully at the age of 85 on Feb. 16 at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Maryland.

Born on Aug. 3, 1935, Mabel was the daughter of the late Ernest Gill and Nellie Duncan Gill.

Mabel grew up with her siblings on the family farm in Nottingham. She graduated from Oxford Area High School and moved to Washington D.C. with her sisters. She attended Strayer Business School and then pursued a career as a secretary for the Department of Agriculture for 29 years until retirement. 

During the weekends, Mabel and her partner John Wilson would spend time with their families and take road trips to the family farm. She also enjoyed the beach, slot machines and country music. She enjoyed spending time on her patio, decorating her apartment and cooking. She would always make her famous potato salad, cakes that would raise over the pan, and brownies for her family. She enjoyed her annual trip to Pennsylvania for her alumni reunion and phone calls from friends and family. Recently, Mabel moved to Rockville, Md. with her sister, Norma. She loved and appreciated the kindness of everyone who called, visited and helped her. She will be greatly missed.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her partner John Wilson, her siblings ,Wilmer Gill, John Gill, Mary Gill, Laura Gill, and Millie Casimano, and her brother-in-laws, Tom Neufell and Jim Hudgins.

She is survived by sisters, Nellie Gill, Norma Neufell and Sara Hudgins; a brother-in-law, Nick

Casimano; nephews, Tom (and wife Jennifer) Neufell, Joe Neufell, and Mike Neufell, nieces,

Donna Neufell, Terri (and husband Mark) Wilkinson, Patti (and husband Kyle) Smith, Elaine

Collyer, Gina (and husband Tom) Schell, Julie (and husband Mike) Carbiener and Mary

Hudgins (and husband Ron); great nieces and nephews, Joe Jr., Casey, Tara, John,

Matthew, Andrew, Ashley, Aleeya, Michael, Meghan, Maddie, Morgan, Dylan, Dominick,

Jacob, Emma, and Andrew; cousins, Pam Duncan Donnelly and Debra Duncan Roney; friends Rebecca Fraunch and her family and “Annie, the mail lady,” who Mabel visited daily.

With so many siblings and relatives, the memories of her life will live on forever with those

who knew and loved her.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, funeral services will be private and held at the

convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to American Heart Association.

Arrangements are being handled by the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford. Online condolences may by made at

Dr. Clarence Melvin Reitnour

Dr. Clarence Melvin Reitnour, 87, of Oxford, passed away on Feb. 17 while surrounded by his family at Chester County Hospital.

Born in Spring City, Pa., he was the son of the late Harry James, Sr, and Sarah Christman, step-son of Paul Miller, and the husband of Shirley Steely Reitnour, with whom he shared 52 years of marriage.

Mel graduated from Spring City High School in 1951, and then went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University as a member of the Delta Theta Sigma agricultural fraternity in 1959. He went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky in 1962, and Ph.D, also from the University of Kentucky, in 1968.  During these years, Mel held many jobs, including Farm Bureau Cooperative feed specialist, assistant UK county agriculture extension agent, and working on the pit crew for sprint car racing as he worked toward completing his education.

Mel met Shirley in Lexington, KY in 1968 and the two were married in Corbin, KY in 1969. They moved to the Oxford area in 1971, and purchased their farm from the late Warren Johnson, a renowned local turkey farmer located near Nottingham. Mel raised beef cattle on the farm and sold hay to many local horse and cattle owners.

Mel joined the College of Agriculture at the University of Delaware in 1968, where he would spend 34 years leading an equine science program as a professor and equine nutritionist. Mel received the Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Agricultural Sciences, University Delaware, for 1978 and 1980. He was a member of the Equine Veterinary Research Directory (board directors), American Horse Council, American Society Animal Science, and Gamma Sigma Delta.  Mel served as an adjunct professor, teaching courses at Alfred University in Alfred, NY for 5 years after retirement from the University of Delaware. Teaching and interacting with his and all kinds of other students gave him great joy throughout his career and into his retirement.

Mel’s interests included farming, whitetail deer hunting, sports (especially Kentucky basketball and Penn State football) and management of a large hunting and farming property in Westfield, Pa., where he enjoyed spending time, especially in his years after retirement.  

After accompanying his uncle on a hunting trip to the Westfield area in the 1950s, Mel fell in love with the area and made it his second home. It was in Westfield that he made many close friends and remained highly active in the outdoors until very late in life.

Mel is survived by his wife; their son, Christopher (Danielle) of West Chester, Pa.;, two grandchildren, Avery and Chase; his brother, Douglas Reitnour (Debra) of Luray, VA; six nieces and nephews and many close friends and family.  

He was predeceased by his brother, Harry James Reitnour, Jr.

Services and interment took place at the Oxford Cemetery on Feb. 23.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the following organizations:

University of Kentucky Equine Science and Management Scholarship ( , Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (,  American Heart Association (, The Frontline Families Fund (

Online condolences may be made at


Mary Annette Plumley, of Kennett Square, passed away on Feb. 18 at the Chester County Hospital. She was 61.

Born in Islip, NY, she was the daughter of the late Samuel McBride and the late Marilyn Bayer McBride.

She was the office manager at Pesce Lab Sales in Kennett Square for the past 22 years.

Mary was a very active member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Kennett Square, where she served on the Hospitality Committee, taught as a CCD educator for 20-plus years, and attended countless wedding rehearsals. She was a seasonal volunteer at Kennett Area Community Services and many other organizations.

She actively engaged in various roles for 20-plus years with Boy Scout Troop 24.

She enjoyed going camping with her family, hiking, the ocean, and found joy in service and family.

She is survived by two sons, Chris Plumley (and grandpuppy Cody) of Kennett Square, and Mark Plumley (Ja’Net and grandson Tyler) of Kennett Square; two brothers, Andrew McBride (Jennifer) of Landenberg and Matthew McBride (Beth) of Fredericksburg, VA; two sisters, Christine Hojnacki (Steve)  of Downingtown and Jean Basilio (Joseph - deceased) of Oxford; much-loved nieces and nephews, Greg (Angela), Kelly (Mike), Kurt (Lindsay), Lisa (David), Matthew, Ryan, Luke, and Kate; great-niece Violet and great-nephews, Tristan and Weston and countless honorary children 

You are invited to visit with her family from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25 and again from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 26 at the Kuzo Funeral Home, 250 West State Street in Kennett Square. The funeral mass will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 212 Meredith Street in Kennett Square. Burial will in St. Patrick’s Cemetery,  North Union Street, in Kennett Square. Please wear face masks and practice social distancing.

In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1818 Market Street, Suite 2820, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

To view her online tribute and to share a memory with Mary’s family, please visit

June Kemery Pratt

June Kemery Pratt passed away peacefully at her home while surrounded by her family on Feb. 20. She was 92.  

She was born at the Chester County Hospital on Sept. 23, 1928, the daughter of Clarence H. Kemery and Olive McCardle Kemery.

She lived in East Bradford Township and then, at the age of 10, she moved to West Chester. June graduated from West Chester High School in 1946.  She married Carroll Howard Pratt on Sept. 29, 1951, and they were married for 58 years until his death on Jan. 24, 2010.  

She was also preceded by her sister A. Elaine Cook.

 June is survived by her son, Kenneth Carroll Pratt and wife Lisa (Hopkins), daughter Darlene

Carol Pratt Pratola and husband Ralph, four grandsons, Tyler K. and Conner W. Pratt, Matthew A. (Stephanie) and Jeffrey M. Pratola and great-granddaughter Nadia V. Pratola and also several nieces and nephews.

During her teen years, June became a ventriloquist with Herbie her dummy and would perform at many clubs, churches, and grange meetings in West Chester and neighboring counties.

June is a member of New Garden Friends Meeting and Kennett Senior Center.  She was a member of London Grove Grange #63 for over 70 years.  June met her husband Carroll through grange activities and throughout the years would attend State and National Granges.  She was formerly a member of Hockessin Friendship Group, Evergreen Garden Club and the Crafty Ladies Club.  She was a volunteer weather observer and a certified food handler for Chester County. She loved to cook and bake. She was known for her coconut cake and Christmas cookies.


She enjoyed feeding birds and traveling throughout the United States, Canada and several foreign countries with her husband. She particularly liked to travel to Lakeland, FL to visit friends and to  take family vacations each year to Ocean City, NJ.  June really enjoyed attending family gatherings and grange activities.

You can visit with the family on Thursday, Feb. 25 from noon to 1 p.m. with a memorial service immediately following at New Garden Friends Meeting,  875 Newark Road Toughkenamon, PA.  Burial will be at the convenience of the family.

Memorial contributions in June’s name can be made to Willow Tree Hospice 616 East Cypress Street Kennett Square, PA 19348 or Kennett Friends Home 147 W. State Street,  Kennett Square, PA 19348.

To view her online tribute and to share a memory with her family, please visit

Julius Edward Bellone, Jr.

Julius (“Jules”) Edward Bellone, Jr. died peacefully on Jan. 17 in New Orleans, LA. 

Jules was a resident of Chester County for 47 years. 

Born in January of 1937 in Greensburg, Pa., Jules attended St. Vincent College where he met Ellen Conway Bellone, his beloved wife of 60 years. Together they started a family in Philadelphia while he completed his graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  

From 1965 to 1995, Jules was a professor of English and film at Lincoln University. As a scholar, Jules published research on cinema including, Renaissance of the Film. After retiring, Jules enjoyed traveling the world with Ellen, spending time with his family, and exploring his newly adopted home of New Orleans.

Jules was intensely curious and perpetually learning new things.  He delighted in learning from others, learning about them, and sharing his interests with others.  He renovated the family’s historical home and transformed the adjacent barn into a home featuring original materials.  When he was not busy tinkering, Jules loved learning to speak Italian, to cook, to make wine, and to garden.  Among his favorite leisurely pursuits were travel, taking long walks, biking, and reading in the sun.  Above all else, Jules adored and enjoyed his family, particularly hearing about his grandchildren’s latest endeavors.  

Jules is survived by his wife Ellen and their three children, Adrienne Santa Bacchus (James) of Davidson, NC, Christopher Conway Bellone (Jill) of New Orleans, LA, and Amy Bellone Hite (John) of New Orleans, LA.  Additionally, he is survived by six grandchildren and one great-grandson: Lauren Bacchus, Carolyn Bacchus Stapleton (Adam), Grace Bellone, Christopher (“Conway”) Bellone, Jr., John (“Will”) Hite IV, Owen Hite, and Henry Stapleton. He is also survived by his brothers, Paul Bellone, David Bellone, and Daniel Bellone.  

Jules is predeceased by Yolanda Scurci Bellone and Julius Edward Bellone, Sr. (parents), Eleanor Bellone (sister), and Lorinda Bellone (sister-in-law).

Funeral services were held on Jan. 22 at Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Orleans.  

Mass and Interment will be held on Monday, Sept. 27 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Malachi Church, 76 St. Malachi Road, Londonderry Township, Pa. 

Contributions in memory of Jules may be made to Lambeth House Employees Emergency Fund, 150 Broadway Street, New Orleans, LA 70118 ( and designate Julius Bellone / Emergency Fund).